Hosea 12-14 Revelation 4
“After the vision of these things I looked, and there before me was an open door in heaven. And the same voice that spoke to me before, that sounded like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.’” (Revelation 4:1 NCV)
The revelation John received began on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus spoke to him there and relayed the messages John was to write to the various churches. All those messages, even the ones that rebuked the specific churches, contained an element of hope and reconciliation. I wonder if John questioned as he wrote. It would be hard to hear these words that promised of overcoming while seeing friends, family, and fellow church members persecuted, attacked, and killed even while he was writing the messages. I imagine the churches who received the messages might have been skeptical too. It’s in this context, or at least my imaginings of what this context was, that Jesus invited John to enter heaven and worship while he looked at history unfold from God’s perspective.
Some would teach that this sentence, “Come up here…” is an expression that foretells the rapture of the Church and that God’s saints will enter into heaven to avoid the terrors of the persecution and judgment to come. That may be, I don’t know. I wonder how many brothers and sisters in Christ who endured the Spanish Inquisition, the religious wars during the Reformation, the persecution in the ongoing years, and, more recently, the persecution in communist and Islamic countries would laugh at the idea that God’s people won’t need to face the tribulation. What I can say is that John was afforded the amazing opportunity to look at life from God’s perspective. Early in my education career I had the opportunity to coach middle schoolers in football. It’s an amazing experience to watch the game from the sideline and be with those kids. Part of that job, though, was to scout the teams that our feeder high school would play. To do that, we entered the press box. The view from the press box was amazing. We could see the whole play unfold in a way that you couldn’t see from up close. I think that’s what worship, when we worship with God’s people does. We pull ourselves out of the situation and for a short time, we see things from God’s perspective. The troubles are still there. The problems don’t go away. Worship, however, gives us hope and a renewed confidence that God’s in charge. When troubles come, and they will, don’t be afraid to take yourself out of the situation for a while by spending some time in worship and looking at things from God’s perspective. It will give you new hope.
Lord, in an action-oriented world, You call us to spend time with You in worship. Help me to get away from the temporary troubles of the day and see things from Your perspective. Renew and recharge me to deal with the battles I face each day.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.